NATION

Raiwai Dog Beating Horror

“I saw a man beating his dog with a stick before kicking it down from the second floor of his house,” he said.
09 Jan 2020 13:07
Raiwai Dog Beating Horror
One of the dogs at the Raiwai home. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Raynal Singh was having a regu­lar Monday morning at his Raiwai home when he saw something he still finds difficult to comprehend.

Mr Singh, 27, runs Zion Auto, an automo­tive and tow truck company he founded in 2014.

He lives with his wife, mother and father on MacFarlane Road, Suva. The family owns two dogs.

Around 9:30 am on Monday, Mr Singh returned home from work to pick up his truck when he heard a loud cry from across the road.

What he saw next horrified him.

“I saw a man beating his dog with a stick before kicking it down from the second floor of his house,” he said.

“He came after it with a 2×2 stick and con­tinued the beating senselessly, with the dog too injured to escape.”

Mr Singh, an animal lover himself, imme­diately went to the house and confronted his neighbour.

“I asked what he was doing and he replied that he was beating up the dog because it pooped in the house,” he said.

As bizarre as the reasoning was, Mr Sin­gh tried to negotiate with the man, which proved harder than he thought.

“He swore at me, threatened my family and told me to mind my own business,” he said.

The Fiji Sun team visited the location of the alleged incident yesterday in an effort to get a comment from the man accused of beating the dog.

We were greeted by a pad-locked gate, a white maltese blackened by dirt and what looked to be a malnourished brown mon­grel.

None of the dogs barked and nobody an­swered our repeated knocks at the gate.

Mr Singh’s next step was to lodge a com­plaint at the Raiwaqa Police Station and contact officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

SPCA staff were quick to arrive but, ac­cording to co-chair Seema Deo, they were threatened with physical harm and did not want risk entering the compound without Police protection.

Ms Deo said SPCA staff worked with Po­lice to get a warrant to enter the premises but faced difficulties in doing so, despite the seriousness of the situation.

“Obtaining a warrant has not been a straightforward process, with Police of­ficers at the scene appearing to be unsure of their responsibilities under the Animal Protection Act,” she said.

“By late this afternoon (yesterday) around 3.30pm a warrant was secured, however for legal reasons, the Police and SPCA still cannot enter the premises.”

“We are disappointed that other factors are preventing us from checking on the health of the animals.”

Police said they would provide SPCA any support they needed to rescue the dogs, ac­cording to spokesperson Savaira Tabua.

Ms Tabua said they would have until to­day to enter, with fears growing about the safety of the animals.

The alleged incident is yet another in a growing list of animal cruelty cases in Fiji.

In a 2017 interview, one expatriate SPCA vet commenting on the worsening situa­tion said: “This place just really makes you hate humans sometimes.”

Under Fiji’s Protection of Animal Act, any person found guilty of “ill-treating” an animal could face a fine of up to $100 or a maximum prison term of six months.

“Ill-treat” covers areas such as beat, kick, maim, torment and torture – among others.

However, SPCA officials and other critics say the punishments were too lax given the situation on the ground, and that the laws are rarely enforced by Police.

“Cruelty and abuse of any form to ani­mals is a prosecutable offence in Fiji and we urge the public to remain vigilant to such abuse,” said Ms Deo.

For Mr Singh, the ordeal was traumatis­ing.

He posted what he had seen on Facebook, drawing widespread public anger from commentators demanding justice.

“Animals have no one to speak for them. It is our moral responsibility as humans to protect them,” he said.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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